Proactive Foot Care as You Age

When your feet hurt, it can feel as though every part of your body hurts. Unfortunately, foot issues can be a very common problem for older adults, in part, because this part of your body can lose cushioning over the years while skin and nails alike become drier, even brittle. If you have poor circulation, as a percentage of older adults do, foot sores can heal less quickly.

Healthy feet are very important in older age because they are how you get around and help keep you independent as you age. You need healthy feet to drive, go for walks with your grandchildren, do your own grocery shopping and so much more. Therefore, proactive foot care is absolutely essential.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy as you grow older. Here are a few good tips to get you started:

  1. Take the timeat least once a week to examine your feet for any problems. Be sure to check the tops, bottoms, toes and toenails. Are they red? Swollen? Are there any blisters, insect bites or sores? If you can not do this by yourself, try using a mirror or ask a friend or family member for help. Address any problems with your physician.
  1. Most importantly, wear shoes that are comfortable and fit well. Feet can widen as you age, so avoid shoes that put pressure on any part ofyour toes or feet, such as tight or high-heeled shoes. Get your feet measured if you find you are getting calluses, corns or bunions, even when wearing shoes that look like they should be comfortabl
  1. Do what you can to boost your circulation. If you spend mostof your day sitting, make sure you walk, stretch and move enough to keep the blood flowing. Here are some other things to keep in mind when trying to improve your circulation:
    • Do not wear tight socks
    • Avoid sitting with crossed legs for long periods of time
    • Do not smoke.
  1. Help control foot odor by carefully washing and drying your feet. Drying between your toes helps to prevent athlete’s foot, a fungus that grows in warm, darkand moist areas. If you experience redness in your feet, plus blisters, itching and peeling (often found between the toes), use a spray or foot powder designed to combat athlete’s foot.
  1. Address any dry skinand the accompanying itching and burning with moisturizers that contain lanolin or petroleum jelly.

If you develop a foot condition, despite all your efforts, there are remedies that can help. If you are diabetic or have neuropathy, if a foot condition persists, or if a symptom concerns you, see a doctor right away. Here are a few things you can try to combat some common problems:

  • Corns and Calluses: Gently rub them with a callus file or pumice stone and use non-medicated pads to protect them from irritation.
  • Heel Spurs: Use heel pads or cups to give your hardworking feet a break.
  • Hammertoes: Choose socks and shoes that give your toes enough space.
  • Ingrown Toenails: Trim the troublesome nail straight across, evenly with the end of the toe. If it looks infected, see your doctor. You may also need to use warm soaks and antibiotic cream.

You do not have to wait until there is a problem to begin caring for your feet. By addressing foot conditions in a timely manner and being proactive about the long term health of your feet, you can ensure they keep you moving for some time to come.


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